For years my family have had the pleasure of enjoying a home in the North Carolina mountains. As you can imagine, the sunny summers and snowy winters really tested the durability of the construction. One exterior door in particular received more sun than the rest, and eventually glossy enamel paint began to peel off in small chips. Unfortunately sanding and re-painting, while an option, would result in chipping again because of voids in the paint from the original chipping. In this case, stripping and repainting is your best option. Here's how you do it.
What you need: rubber gloves, paint stripper, scraper, scouring pad, mineral spirits, sawhorse, phillips and flat head screwdrivers, hammer, paint, primer
1.)Remove the door. While shut, and starting at the bottom hinge, take a small phillips head screwdriver to the bottom of your hinges and tap the pin up--just to the point where you can fit a flat head screwdriver in between the top of the pin and the hinge itself. Use a hammer tap up on the pin until you can remove it by hand from the hinge. Once all the hinge pins are removed, pull the door carefully from the frame.
NOTE: Remove the hardware (knob, striker, and hinges) BEFORE stripping.
2.) Using a "Stripper," a thick liquid available at your local hardware store, lay your door flat on a sawhorse. For best results, keep it out of sun and wind (to avoid the liquid from drying). I would recommend using an inexpensive brush to spread the stripper, and let it sit for about 15 minutes. You'll know its working if you begin to see the paint bubbling up.
3.) Wearing Rubber Gloves, use a scraper to remove the stripper and paint, discarding it into a 5-gallon paint bucket, old box, or other receptacle.
4.) Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all paint and primer has been removed. I used 2 coats to remove the majority.
5.) OPTIONAL: If there are spots that have not come up, use a non-metal scouring pad dipped in mineral spirits to work on these spots.
6.) Also OPTIONAL: My door was particularly ornery, so I needed to take a clean towel and apply the stripper to some spots that would not come off. After the 15 minutes, those spots were removed. Then, I used the scouring pad and spirits one more time to wrap it up.
7.) Prime it: depending on type of door surface, pick up the appropriate primer--available at your local hardware store. In my case, I picked up a latex-based primer and paint made for a metal door. One coat of primer was all I needed. Let it dry for 4 hours.
8.) Paint it: Brush on 1 coat of paint, let it sit for 4 hours, then apply a 2nd coat. Let it dry overnight.
9.) Attach the hinge hardware.
10.) Place the door back on the hinges. I would recommend starting at the top hinge, and get a buddy to help. Have the hinge pin ready to slide through the hinge. Then work to install the other 2 pins.
11.) Install the knob and striker, and you're all set!